Delhi fire tragedy: 27 people dead, 29 still missing

Delhi fire tragedy: 27 people dead, 29 still missing
GK Photo

New Delhi, May 14: A day after a massive fire in a building in outer Delhi's Mundka claimed 27 lives, frantic relatives were still searching for their loved ones with police saying that 29 people remained unaccounted for.

According to the fire department, the death toll could increase to 30 as charred human remains were found in the building during cooling operations on Saturday morning. Twelve injured are undergoing treatment at a hospital here.

The fire department said the four-storey building, which did not have a fire safety certificate, had a single entry and exit point.

"The building had a single escape route which is why there were so many casualties. Twenty-seven people have died," Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg said.

He said it is suspected that an explosion in an AC may have triggered the fire.

Garg added it was difficult to ascertain whether the remains found on Saturday morning were of one person or more.

Harish Goel and his brother Varun Goel, owners of a CCTV camera and router manufacturing and assembling company, in whose office the fire is suspected to have started, have been arrested, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Sameer Sharma said.

So far, the DCP said, seven of the 27 deceased have been identified -- Tania Bhushan, Mohini Pal, Yashoda Devi, Ranju Devi, Vishal, Drishti and Kailash Jyani.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia visited the spot on Saturday. The chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the fire, which started from the first floor of the building.

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said he was "deeply pained" by the loss of lives in the tragedy, and called for immediate steps to prevent such incidents in the future. He also extended his condolences to the bereaved families.

Distraught relatives of the missing persons thronged the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital on Friday night hoping to get information about them.

One of them, Ajit Tiwari, said his sister Monika (21) had started working for the company just a month back.

"She received her first salary on Thursday. We got to know about the fire at 5 pm, but had no idea that the blaze broke out at her office building. When she did not return home by 7 pm, we started looking for her," he said.

Monika lives with her two brothers and a sister in Delhi's Agar Nagar. She is from Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh.

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